A former commander of the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy, Alieu Kosiah, has been sentenced to a 20-year jail term by a Swiss Federal criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity. The 46 year-old rebel leader was found guilty of 21 out of the 25 charges of multiple heinous crimes by civil right group, Civitas Maxima which filed the initial lawsuit.
He was said to have ordered the killing of 13 civilians and two unarmed soldiers, murdering four civilians, ordering looting, and using child soldiers in armed hostilities.
Alieu Kosiah was detained by Swiss authorities in 2014 and became the first person to be tried by a Swiss Civilian court since the inception of a Swiss law which mandates the courts to adjudicate cases of war crime across the world.
Even though the court indicated that the former rebel leader will serve 20 years jail term, the prosecutors clarified that his earlier 6-year detention spanning from 2014 will be counted as part of the pronounced term.
Kosiah’s crimes date back in history. It will be recalled that Liberians fought two separate civil wars that claimed about 250,000 lives between 1989 and 2003. In the first war which ended in 1997, the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy fiercely fought against Former President Charles Taylor’s led rebel group National Patriotic Front of Liberia.